The I-Corps training is focused on helping early-stage teams who have a fundamental technology, engineering, or business model innovation learn how to search for a scalable business model through the Customer Discovery process.

There are two types of I-Corps training, both based on our National Faculty Director, Steve Blank’s Lean Startup methods.

The Intro to Lean Startup: NSF I-Corps Method course, taught by UC Berkeley faculty, is a free 1 week program where you’ll learn how to conduct interviews to gain customer feedback and define your customer segment.

NSF I-Corps Method course teams must have between 2-4 members, and the technology must have a current or recent University or National lab connection.

As part of UC Berkeley’s ongoing commitment to entrepreneurship, UC Berkeley postdocs who successfully complete the 1 week NSF I-Corps Method course can receive up to a $5,000 grant from PostX, and UC Berkeley PhD students can receive up to a $5,000 grant from PhDX.

After you complete the short course, you may be eligible to continue to the National I-Corps Program, a 7 week course that comes with a $50,000 customer discovery grant.

NSF I-corps Method Short Course


3hr sessions held Mon – Wed – Mon

15 customer interviews

Within a 1 week period


Upon completion and recommendation

APPLY below for the next Intro to Lean Startup: NSF I-Corps Method Short Course starting February 28, 2022 online via Zoom.

In February, we are excited to offer a second training happening at the same time, tailored to food related teams. Eligible teams who complete this course will be able to participate in the NorCal SBDC Restaurant Program, which includes resources such as one-on-one advising and a 10-week food business startup accelerator. 

The application for both courses is below, and is due February 11, 2022

Apply here

Please fill out the application in entirety. If you have any questions about the application, use the Contact Form at the bottom of the site.

2022 planned start dates:

Winter SpringSummer Fall
Jan 24Apr 25Jul 18Oct 17
Feb 28May 16Aug 15Nov 14
Mar 21 Jun 6Sep 12Dec 5

Short Course Program Team Eligibility

2-4 people

Business and Technical Lead (Mentor optional)

20 – 40 hours

Commitment during program week


Of all 3 sessions

Teams Must:

  • Be open to learning through the Customer Discovery process
  • Be willing to fail or succeed as a team.
  • Have a high tolerance for uncertainty
  • Able to describe the customer value proposition without revealing IP

National Course

(for current NSF grantees or NSF I-Corps Method Short Course completion + recommendation)

$ 50k Grant

Non dilutive grants for customer discover activities

Flexible Cohorts

Rotating App + courses around the year

Boot camps

3+2 days at beginning + end of course

Video Sessions

5 bi-weekly sessions between bootcamps

More info & schedule here: I-Corps Curriculum

Benefits of both courses include learning techniques for using Customer Discovery and the Customer Development process to rapidly evaluate the business potential of technologies and ideas.  Teams should reach a go/no go decision by the end of either course. Course structures also facilitate personal connections to the faculty, mentors and other team members in the program.

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Please contact Dave Weiner via email –

Case Study

UCB PhD Eric Munsing shares his experience with NSF I-Corps Method training here.